September 30, 2013 at 1:00 am

Tom Markowski

Prep Insider: RBs Josh Holloman, John Kelly, Michael Weber worth price of admission

Mike Weber has run for 600 yards and 10 TDs for Detroit Cass Tech. (Bryan Mitchell/Special to The Detroit News)

Three of the state’s top running backs in the class of 2015 are within easy driving distance for those in Metro Detroit.

Josh Holloman of Auburn Hills Avondale, John Kelly of Oak Park and Michael Weber of Detroit Cass Tech are three of the top recruits in their class at their position.

Kelly has received scholarship offers from Michigan State and Western Michigan. Weber has received scholarship offers from Pittsburgh, Tennessee and Syracuse, among others. Holloman has yet to receive any scholarship offers but that might soon change. Ohio State invited Holloman to the Wisconsin game on Saturday and coaches from Michigan were at Avondale last week to meet with coach Steve Deutsch.

Because of the success Cass Tech has had recently, Weber has been in the spotlight more than the other two, but neither Kelly nor Holloman has to take a back seat as far as effectiveness. Kelly is the most versatile. Holloman is the fastest. Weber combines both speed and power.

Weber (5-foot-10, 205 pounds) missed nearly all of his freshman season but came on strong last season.

“He had some cartilage problems,” Cass Tech coach Thomas Wilcher said. “Last spring was the first year he was able to run track. He’s a hard runner to bring down. He’s tough and physical. And he has great hands. He’s a heck of a receiver.”

Weber has rushed for 600 yards and 10 touchdowns in limited action this season, due to many of Cass Tech’s lopsided victories.

Holloman (5-11, 185) won the Division 1 100-meter dash as a sophomore and reportedly was timed at 4.23 seconds in the 40-yard dash at a summer camp. He rushed for 800 yards last season and has nearly that total through five games this season.

“He’s learning to run between the tackles,” Deutsch said. “He’s having a good year but he won’t get it 25 times a game. That’s not par of our offense. We do a lot of different things. We run the spin series, the jet, counter buck and trey and some sweeps. A number of college coaches saw him when we played (Birmingham) Seaholm and he had 212 yards on nine carries in the first half.”

Kelly (5-10, 195) has rushed for 617 yards and eight touchdowns and he also plays defensive back, and is one of the area’s top kick returners. Oak Park coach Greg Carter said Kelly might play in the secondary in college.

“He can do anything,” Carter said. “He could be our best receiver. He could be our best cornerback but we have to play him at safety because that’s where we need him. He could be a slot receiver in college. I’d love to see him play the slot. That kid is phenomenal.”


No one could blame Warren DeLaSalle if it had a sub-par performance on Friday at Orchard Lake St. Mary’s. Six days before, DeLaSalle lost to Birmingham Brother Rice, 26-24, on a 34-yard, Hail Mary pass from quarterback Alex Malzone to Jason Alessi on the last play of the game. On the previous play, with 6.9 seconds left, Malzone appeared to throw the ball away to prevent a sack but no penalty was called. On the play before, Malzone completed a 20-yard pass, but video showed Brother Rice had 12 players on the field and no penalty was called.

“We felt sorry for ourselves, then we looked at ourselves in the mirror,” DeLaSalle coach Paul Verska said.

DeLaSalle defeated St. Mary’s, 7-0. It was the first time DeLaSalle had defeated its Catholic League Central Division rival at their place. The victory keeps DeLaSalle (3-2, 1-1) in the race for the league title and a state playoff berth.

“We’re happy with the way we played,” Verska said. “Tough times don’t last forever. Tough people do. The players forget quicker than the coaches do. That’s why we won.”

Verska is being modest. Few victories this weekend can match the importance of this one, and Verska and his coaching staff must be commended for preparing their players to play well in such a critical game.

Youth is served

Before the season South Lyon coach Mark Thomas thought his team might be a year away from competing for the Kensington Lakes Activities Association Central Division title and possibly qualifying for the state playoffs. Thomas starts just three seniors on offense and defense but his underclassmen are growing up fast. South Lyon (3-2, 2-1) surprised Novi (3-2, 2-1), 36-13, on Friday and trails Northville (4-1, 3-0) in the Central.

“We’re on a roll,” Thomas said. “The missed assignments we had earlier aren’t happening anymore. We’re running the pistol and that’s helped our line because we’re not very big up front. We use zone blocking and try to create a wall.”

Junior quarterback Anton Skupin rushed for 115 yards and three touchdowns against Novi. South Lyon limited Novi to just 143 total yards.

On the rebound

Mount Pleasant (4-1) lost its opener to No. 9-ranked DeWitt (5-0), 28-16, despite outgaining its opponent, 428 yards to 259. Worse, Mount Pleasant running back Michael Tweh suffered a severe ankle sprain and hasn’t played since. Tweh, who could return this week, rushed for over 3,000 yards his first two seasons and had 185 when the injury occurred.

On Friday, Mount Pleasant weathered a first-quarter blitz by Midland (4-1) and pulled off a 50-42 upset at Midland.

Midland led 28-21 after the first quarter and 35-29 at halftime. Evan Huber returned the second-half kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown and Mount Pleasant outscored Midland, 21-0, in the third quarter.

“We’ve adapted,” Mount Pleasant coach Jason McIntyre said. “We haven’t pounded the ball like we did with Michael in the lineup.”

Quarterback Robert Backus has picked up the slack since Tweh’s injury. Against Midland Backus was 20-for-29 for 311 yards and five touchdowns.

Top performance

Jacob Johnson

DeWitt junior quarterback

Johnson was 14-of-23 for 244 yards and three touchdowns as DeWitt (5-0) defeated Haslett, 35-7. Johnson has not thrown an interception in 87 attempts this season.


“He really lifted our spirits. He got some big-time yardage (164 yards). I’m just glad he had the opportunity.”

Al Fracassa, Birmingham Brother Rice coach. on the importance of the return of his senior running back Brian Walker in Brother Rice’s 28-21 victory over Detroit Catholic Central on Saturday

By the numbers

66 -- Consecutive losses for Lincoln Park, which plays at Taylor Kennedy (0-5) on Friday

73 -- Teams that are one victory away from clinching a playoff spot

508 -- Combined yards gained by Midland and Mount Pleasant in the first quarter of their game, won by Mount Pleasant, 50-42

Oak Park's John Kelly has rushed for 617 yards and eight touchdowns. (Bryan Mitchell / Special to The Detroit News)
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